In the first part of our exploration of finding a reason to do the hard work of recovery, we investigated the meaning and purpose of reasons themselves. What is a “reason”? How do we begin to uncover our reasons for staying sick, and our reasons for getting well? Perhaps most importantly, what recourse do we have if and when we discover our reasons for staying sick conflict with our reasons for getting well?
In this second part of our exploration, we will look at the word “choice”. The most commonly accepted definition of this word is “the power, right, or liberty to choose; option”. Yet in many cases, the power of choice feels less like a right or liberty and more like a burden or obligation.
So stop for a moment now and think of how you commonly experience choice in your life. Does choice feel like a human right, a liberty, an option you have for exercising your own powerful, personal freedom? Or does choice feel like a burden, an obligation, an exercise in overcoming almost impenetrable fear?
Eleanor Roosevelt, a strong and empowered woman who lived through one of the most tumultuous times in American history as she supported her husband in rebuilding the hopes and dreams of a nation wrecked by economic depression, is famous for her choice to maintain her personal optimism in the face of the direst of circumstances. She once stated, “The purpose of life, after all, is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”
While it is unlikely that any of us will ever make a decision to “reach out eagerly” and not encounter fear, Mrs. Roosevelt’s statement points to the possibility that this experience is not impossible to achieve – but it is also not going to be easy to attain.
The simple fact is that each and every day we encounter many reasons that could support our choice to stay stuck, and we encounter just as many reasons to choose to pursue health, recovery, and wellness…and it is our power of personal choice alone that will determine which path we will take.
So the challenge then becomes to decide what is in it for us to make one choice over another.
As I have had the privilege of working with so many individuals over the years, it has become clear to me that human beings are most likely to choose positive change when the pain of staying stuck exceeds the perceived pain of breaking free. I have witnessed how each of us, over time, develops a sense of our own personal pain threshold – the line in the sand over which we may be willing to step if the pain of staying stuck outweighs the fear of trying something new. This personal pain threshold is determined by our cumulative past experiences of hope, joy, triumph, frustration, disappointment, and emotional injury. When staying stuck does not inflict enough pain to push us above our personal pain threshold set point, we will most likely choose to maintain our status quo. However, when staying stuck pushes us past our own personal pain threshold, we may actually experience that we have no choice but to step across that line and try something new.
So now it is time to contemplate the impact it will have on your life if you exercise your human right and option to choose to stay stuck in close companionship with your eating disordered thoughts and behaviors. You can contemplate or even journal about how your own choice not to do the hard work of recovery will impact your life, your relationships, your career, your daily life, your valued activities.
Next, you can consider and jot down your thoughts about the impact to your life if you choose to invest your time and energy into meeting your recovery, health, and wellness goals.
Now, take a look at what is on either side of your line in the sand determine where your current pain threshold is. If you find that your threshold is not activated enough to make the choice to do the hard work of choosing recovery, then ask yourself what kind of support you need to help you access your human right to choose to give yourself the gift of recovered life.
At Southlake Counseling, we have both the expert training and the firsthand experience to know that you have the power to say “no” to living with an eating disorder and YES to recovered life – whether you begin your recovery journey believing that recovery is possible for you or not. We also have more than two decades of clinical expertise in implementing the very latest treatment methods for helping our clients to achieve and even exceed their recovery, health, and wellness goals. Most importantly, over the last two decades, we have had the privilege of witnessing thousands of courageous individuals like you harnessing the power of professional support to help them break free from their fears and limitations and break through to recovered life.
So this holiday season, visit us at www.southlakecounseling.com and give yourself the most precious gift of all –the gift of choosing YOU!